Twelve new reports released today expose the State Policy Network (SPN), an $83 million web of right-wing "think tanks" in every state across the country. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, an in-depth investigation reveals that SPN and its state affiliates are major drivers of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders. The reports show how these groups masquerade as "think tanks," and describe how some of them may be skirting tax laws while really orchestrating extensive lobbying and political operations to peddle their legislative agenda to state legislators, all while reporting little or no lobbying activities.
Freedom Partners (FP) -- a funding group previously unheard of before it shared exclusive and highly selective details about itself with Politico last week -- has extensive hidden connections to Koch Industries and to charities connected to Charles Koch, according to new research by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
A controversial out-of-state mining company is closer to gaining control over a 3,600-acre swath of publicly available forest near where it is planning a massive open-pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. The Florida firm, Gogebic Taconite, has begun test drilling in the area and has already stirred controversy by hiring out-of-state armed security with automatic assault weapons to guard their activities. The Arizona firm was kicked out of the state after the media uncovered they were not licensed here. Now Gogebic Taconite is attempting to shut down whole forests to keep its controversial mining activities from protestors and curious eyes.
As newsrooms across the country have cut staff reporters -- due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration -- the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity has rushed to fill the gap, as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has documented. The Franklin Center has 40 state news websites, with reporters in 34 states so far. Its reporters have received state house press credentials and its stories appear as news in mainstream print newspapers in each state without alerting readers to the heavy right-wing bias of the Franklin-related publications.
-- by Seep Paliwal
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative advocacy group founded and funded by David Koch, is spearheading an ad campaign aimed at young women attacking the 2010 federal health reform law dubbed "ObamaCare." It is spending more than $1 million to run the ad in Virginia and Ohio, with plans to expand it to a total of seven states.
-- By Katie Lorenze
Gun Owners of America (GOA) has declared immigration reform a gun issue, warning that under the "scamnesty bill" currently in the U.S. Senate, "you can say buh bye to your guns and buh bye to the rest of your freedom."
-- By Katie Lorenze
With immigration reform advancing through Congress, an anti-immigrant network funded by a small group of right-wing foundations is trying to kill reform by pressuring moderate Republicans and appealing to the party's xenophobic wing. The groups could stymie efforts by some Republicans to appeal to the country's growing Latino population by moving to the center on immigration.
Bills introduced in Nevada to allow machine guns on the Vegas strip, privatize public education, and thwart federal healthcare reform can be tied back to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), according to a new report from ProgressNow Nevada detailing ALEC's influence in that state.
Six influential state tax studies by anti-tax organizations including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are "deeply flawed," include "highly inconsistent findings" and constitute "ideologically charged pseudo-social science published to further the interests of corporations and rich people," according to a major new report released by Good Jobs First, titled "Grading Places: What Do the Business Climate Rankings Really Tell Us?"
In 2010, Governor Scott Walker ran for office on a simple message, that he would turn Wisconsin's economy around and create 250,000 jobs. There was good news for Walker in the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs numbers released April 2013. Although Wisconsin still ranked 44th in the country in terms of job creation, the staggering economy had created 64,500 more jobs since Walker took office than previously known. There was a large upward correction in the BLS jobs data stretching back more than a year that not only impacted Wisconsin, but many states.